Earlier this week (3/30/09), PepsiCo announced a pilot project that introduced a new type of climate friendly vending machines to the United States. The machines, which feature the new Pepsi logo along with a special green refrigerant sticker, use less energy and generate 12% less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than current vending machines.
In addition to their energy efficiency improvements, the new machines use carbon dioxide (CO2), a natural refrigerant, instead of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This marks the first time that vending machines cooled by CO2 have been introduced in the United States.
Under the new program, The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) is currently placing 30 Pepsi-Cola vending machines in high-consumer traffic areas in the Washington, DC area. This project is part of PepsiCo’s commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of the vending and cooling equipment used to sell its drinks.
To accomplish this, PepsiCo is focusing on three areas:
- Energy: Improving the energy efficiency of its machines, as energy use accounts for the vast majority of refrigeration equipment’s GHG emissions;
- Insulating Foam: Eliminating HFCs from the insulating foam in vending machines, coolers and fountain equipment; and
- Refrigerants: Using green refrigerants instead of HFCs in its equipment.
“Many people don’t realize that the largest part of a vending machine’s GHG emissions—about 95%, in fact—come from the energy required to run it,” said Robert Lewis, vice president of packaging and equipment development for PepsiCo. “The insulating foam and refrigerant gases are responsible for the rest, and we’re committed to reducing all parts of the equation.”
In addition to the CO2-cooled machines included in this pilot program, PepsiCo is testing thousands of machines around the world that rely on other green refrigerants—specifically isobutane and propane—that also have a lower climate impact than current HFC refrigerants.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to make our business more efficient and environmentally sustainable,” said Lewis. “This field test will help us evaluate the performance and reliability of these new machines in a real-world environment. We hope to get a sneak preview of what sustainable refrigeration could look like on a larger scale.”